Am I drinking too much?
You are drinking too much if one of the following statements is true. You are:
- A woman who has more than 7 drinks* per week or more than 3 drinks per occasion
- A man who has more than 14 drinks* per week or more than 4 drinks per occasion
- Older than 65 years of age and have more than 7 drinks* per week or more than 3 drinks per occasion
*One drink = one 12-oz bottle of beer (4.5 percent alcohol), one 5-oz glass of wine (12.9 percent alcohol) or 1.5 oz of 80-proof distilled spirits.
Am I drinking heavily?
You are drinking heavily if one of the following statements is true. You are:
- A woman who has more than 3 drinks every day or 21 drinks per week
- A man who has more than 5 drinks every day or 35 drinks per week
Am I taking risks with alcohol?
You are taking risks with alcohol if one or more of the following statements are true. You:
- Drink and drive, operate machinery or mix alcohol with over-the-counter or prescription medicine
- Don't tell your doctor or pharmacist that you are a regular drinker
- Are pregnant or are trying to become pregnant and drink at all (even small amounts of alcohol may hurt an unborn child)
- Drink alcohol while you are looking after children
- Drink alcohol even though you have a medical condition that can be made worse by drinking
Has my drinking become a habit?
Your drinking has become a habit if you drink regularly to:
- Relax, relieve anxiety or go to sleep
- Be more comfortable in social situations
- Avoid thinking about sad or unpleasant things
- Socialize with other regular drinkers
Has drinking alcohol become a problem for me?
Alcohol has become a problem for you if one or more of the following statements are true. You:
- Can't stop drinking once you start
- Felt the need to cut down on your drinking
- Have tried to stop drinking for a week or so but only quit for a few days
- Fail to do what you should at work or at home because of drinking
- Feel guilty after drinking
- Find other people make comments to you about your drinking
- Felt annoyed by criticism of your drinking
- Have a drink in the morning to get yourself going after drinking heavily the night before
- Can't remember what happened while you were drinking
- Have hurt someone else as a result of your drinking
Is alcohol taking over my life?
Yes, if you:
- Ever worry about having enough alcohol for an evening or weekend
- Hide alcohol or buy it at different stores so people will not know how much you are drinking
- Switch from one kind of drink to another hoping that this will keep you from drinking too much or getting drunk
- Try to get "extra" drinks at a social event or sneak drinks when others aren't looking
Other Signs That Alcohol Is a Problem
- Being unusually suspicious
- Blackouts/memory loss
- Breakdown of relationships
- Getting driving tickets while under the influence of alcohol
- Loss of self-esteem
- Not taking care of yourself
- Poor work performance
- Taking sick days for hangovers
- Trembling hands
- Trouble having erections (men)
Problem Drinking and Alcoholism: Diagnosis and Treatment by MA Enoch, M.D., M.R.C.G.P. and D Goldman, M.D. (American Family Physician February 01, 2002, http://www.aafp.org/afp/20020201/441.html)
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff